A Day On The Dunes And Smoked Fish For Dinner


Art is directly influenced by the living conditions and context of where we stay. Whilst on  residency at Nida Art Colony we have worked on a series of interventions questioning the nomadic quality of our practice: how long do we have to live  in a place, not to be just passers by? The notion of the tourist and travelling from one place to another, migrating, shifting and crossing borders. Whether through a travelling dune made out of a plastic printed sheet, afloating and moving border marker or a series of  re-made postcards, we are  posing a critical comment on the environment we have inhabited, accompanied with humour and poetry. Our research and practice focuses on space, which is, to a certain extent, universal. Space is a very broad term used to define something which is simultaneously physical, social and psychological. Space is anentity, having a  non-tangible  and diverse meaning, which operates through human thought and action. We work in this way to, if possible, create  a  more  objective  artwork  where  the  individual  stance is questioned.  Enquiring  into  the  distinction  between  experience  and interpretatio n in  ethnographically  inclined  collaborative artworks and how does our individual life experience merge into one piece? However, in Nida this notion was challenged as one of our members was brought up just a few kilometres away in the neighbouring city of Klaipeda. How can  we,  as  a  collective, be  objective when one of our  members is relatively  local,  with  prior experiences of the place, is it already filled with preconceptions? Does this mar our  projected  expectations of the place?
 

From the porch outside the colony, sitting on a confortable sofa in what we turned into our make-shift office, one encounters daily  coaches full of transitory tourists, driving past and making their way to the top of the hill to the sun dial and viewing platform, a wooden peninsular which juts out overlooking the sand dunes and the Russian boarder. The migrating sand dunes are undoubtedly beautiful, and it is no surprise that that is the image Nida projects, the  spectacle of nature. People  come  here trying to capture its essence in a photograph, concerned of getting the right picture.The image of reality is 'transformed', schematised through media, creating a new and  this in itself  is a spectacle. Even  after an extended stay you are never there long enough to actually witness the migration of the dunes, one projects an expectation of this when viewing them. I n When Fake Moves  Dunes, we  set  out  to explore  the  juxta-

position of the real and synthesised experience of the spectacle and the expectations  which  the spectator  projects  upon  it. 
 
For those that go further than the viewing platform,wandering down into the dunes you encounter the first of many borders, the one that divides you to the National  Park, a  nomansland  to  Russia. Situated in  the National Park, within the sand dunes across the 1.8mile breadth of the spit, is the Russian-Lithuanian border,mapped out by nine, three-meter high border markers. The idea of geo-politicising and imposing something fixed, marking the periphery of a space with a line that divides the territory of the two states is a manmade concept. The markers are imposed onto something that is ever moving and changing,it is not a fixed space, yet like any other region it has had its boundaries defined into a  fixed and rigid concept. The two exist in a constant state of flux and thus become, using the idea of  Michel  Foucault, a heterotopia,  which is a space of otherness,  simultaneously  physical  and  mental. The  border is  a complexity  filled  with  ambiguity.

 

Travel constructs a fictional relationship between gaze and landscape. And  while  we  use  the  word  'space' to describe the frequentation of places which specifically defines the journey, we should still remember that  there  are  spaces  in  which  the  individual  feels  himself to be a spectator  without  paying much attention  to the spectacle.  As  if  the position of spectator were the essence of the spectacle, as if basically the spectator in the position of a spectator  were  his  own  spectacle…the  travellers  space  may  thus  be  the  archetype  of  non-place. 

 

After the coach  collects  you  from  a  day  out  on this extraordinary landscape  one  takes  a  respite in the centre of Nida town, where you can find the tourist office, a mandatory pit stop  to collect  handfuls  of postcards to be sent to family and friends and to be kept as mementos. These postcard  images exist as  a  composed  account,  a  created snapshot which project a different reality to what is actually in existence. They are consumable representations, which in essence,are non-places, constructed images that say to the spectator.

 

"I have been here".
 

When Fake Moves Dunes

2013, Parnidis dune, Nida, Lithuania

1 Channel Video (00:17:32), Printed Linoleum Sheet 4 X 4 m

 

Geographical Objects

2013, Curonian Lagoon, Nida Arts Colony Studio, Nida, Lithuanian

2 Channels Video (00:04:24), 1:50 and 1:1 Scale Marker Pole, Paper, Moving engine, Wood

 

© Milda Lembertaitė & Amelia Prazak